Over 90% of Russians Inhabiting Kuril Islands Oppose Handover to Japan - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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The overwhelming majority of Kuril Islands inhabitants oppose the idea of the possible transfer of some of the archipelago's islands to Japan, a poll conducted by the Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VTsIOM) showed on Thursday.
"When it comes to the issue of the southern islands' handover to Japan, the Kurils' inhabitants are unanimous: 93 percent of respondents view such a demand as unacceptable", the VTsIOM poll said, adding that, according to its figures, the share of Russians holding same views across the country was lower and totalled 77 percent.
In addition, 86 percent of the Kuril Islands' inhabitants said they believed that the territorial dispute should not be addressed since the issue had already been settled.
The poll also examined the Russian citizens' awareness of the territorial dispute between Russia and Japan and found that 99 percent of the Kurils' inhabitants knew about the existing disagreements, while in Russia as a whole 79 percent of interviewees were knowledgeable, according to VTsIOM data.
The survey was conducted on January 29 among 207 inhabitants of the Kuril Islands via telephone interviews.
The Kuril Islands dispute has been souring Moscow-Tokyo relations for decades and serves as the main stumbling rock to signing a permanent peace treaty after the end of WWII. Both countries claim a group of four islands, namely Iturup, Kunashir, Shikotan and Habomai.
Russia and Japan are currently making effort to finalise a permanent peace treaty. In mid-January, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his Japanese counterpart Taro Kono held their first round of peace consultations in Moscow, after which Kono said that their next meeting could be held at the Munich Security Conference scheduled for February 15-17.
Nationwide, 77 percent of Russian respondents voiced opposition to transferring the Kurils to Japan late last year. President Vladimir Putin said that any deal to end the territorial dispute with Japan would need public backing. The most probably option is transferring the Habomai islets (Хабомаи) to Japan symbolically as there is no resident on the islets. Displacing any resident on the Kurils would be opposed by the public. When the Soviet-Japanese Declaration of 1956 was signed, the Shikotan Island was largely uninhabited.

The “Kuril question” does not leave the agenda because of ambiguous statements by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and the absence of Moscow’s reaction for several days.

For a moment, it seemed that Russia was ready to transfer part of the islands to Tokyo. "Russian Planet" decided to speak frankly on this topic with Anatoly Koshkin, Doctor of Historical Sciences, Professor of the Institute of Eastern Countries, visiting professor at Osaka University of Economics and Law.

- Our dispute with Japan around the Southern Kuriles continues for more than 70 years. Commenting on the situation, the Russian authorities constantly refer to the 1956 Declaration. In this case, its estimates vary. Previously, it was recognized as an actual document, and recently Putin said that the Declaration needs to be improved.

- I recall that the Soviet-Japanese Declaration of 1956 remains the basic document. Article 9 states that the USSR agrees to the transfer to Japan of the Habomai and Shikotan Islands. But the transfer can be carried out only after the conclusion of a peace treaty. And we are not talking about the return of the islands, but about their “transfer”, that is, this is a gesture of goodwill from Moscow.

Very few people pay attention to other important factors. Habomai is not one island, it is a territory of about 20 islands, sea stones and shoals, which are washed by bioresources-rich water areas.

Under Khrushchev, when the Declaration was concluded, there were no 200-mile economic zones introduced in the world in 1977. If the declaration had now been executed on the conditions of 62 years ago, our country would have lost the opportunity to extract the enormous natural resources of the Pacific Ocean. Roughly speaking, we would have to buy fish from the Japanese, which we now calmly catch and eat.

- In the first half of January, we witnessed ambiguous statements by Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, from which it followed that Moscow and Tokyo had allegedly agreed on the transfer of the two Kuril Islands to Japan. Then the Foreign Ministry of the Russian Federation actually denied this information and called the Japanese ambassador. What was it?

- Frankly speaking, I believe that Russian President Vladimir Putin has long set out to transfer Habomai and Shikotan to Japan. He has repeatedly said that the signed and ratified documents must be carried out, as if by putting it out of the bracket that the Japanese government has repeatedly violated the spirit and letter of the Declaration.

In addition, Khrushchev himself actually canceled his voluntaristic promises to the Japanese, when in 1960 instead of a peace treaty on agreed terms, they signed a military alliance with the US, openly directed against our country. Most likely, Putin was inspired in his time by the example of a “successful” settlement of the territorial dispute with China in 2004. Although this was an obvious concession, since China received the islands on the Amur and the Ussuri and a number of other border areas.

However, with the Japanese it was so easy for making such a scheme fail. Tokyo insists on transferring all four islands (Kunashir, Iturup, Shikotan and Habomai). Of course, now it may seem that Japan is ready to agree to the terms of the 1956 Declaration, which envisaged the transfer of two islands, but, most likely, this is just a trick, a diplomatic trick.

In reality, nothing in the position of Tokyo has changed. The Japanese, speaking of Habomai and Shikotan, do not hide the fact that they will never give up their “basic position” on the demand for the largest and most developed islands of the Great Kuril Ridge - Kunashir and Iturup, for which they have no legal or any other rights. .

Even if the Japanese government suddenly agrees to implement the 1956 Declaration, the parliament will not ratify the treaty with Moscow. He will not find support in Japanese society.

Japan has not retreated from its demands since the 1990s and does not intend to do this now. For example, under Yeltsin, the so-called “Kozyrev formula” (the head of the Russian Foreign Ministry in 1990-1995, Andrei Kozyrev - RP) was developed “two plus alpha”. She allowed the transfer of the two islands even without the conclusion of a peace treaty and the continuation of negotiations on the other two.

Such an approach is a frank surrender of our territories and, unfortunately, I cannot say that Moscow’s position has changed dramatically since that time. I do not rule out that Putin and Abe actually reached some preliminary agreements that entail the transfer of the two islands.

Therefore, when Shinzo Abe began to hint that the issue was almost resolved, he was hardly cunning. Typically, Japanese politicians may shift accents, but they cannot completely distort the position of a partner, cannot ascribe something from themselves.

However, in Russian society, such statements caused quite fair indignation. To calm him down, the Russian Foreign Ministry summoned the Japanese ambassador and expressed dissatisfaction with the statements of the Japanese prime minister. But I emphasize, my personal opinion, that in the course of confidential talks face-to-face the two leaders, there were some agreements.

- Why is the “Kuril question” so important for Tokyo?

- Japan considers the South Kuril Islands its "original territory". But this is not true! The Russians plotted these islands on the maps of the Russian Empire as their own as early as the second half of the 18th century. The Japanese then did not even own the island of Hokkaido. Therefore, there is no reason to speak of the Kuriles as “the ancestral territories of Japan” in Tokyo. This is done solely for the purpose of propaganda, "justification" of their illegal claims against our country.

- Nevertheless, it follows from your words that Japan with incredible stubbornness defends the rights to the South Kuril Islands.

- First, the Japanese are very stubborn, or, let's say, stubborn people. This is their distinctive national trait. If they conceived something, they will go to the end. At the same time, the Japanese are distinguished by extraordinary rationality. The Southern Kuriles, as I have said, is a territory rich in natural resources. This fish, and energy, and rare metals needed in industry, not to mention their important strategic geographical location. Of course, Japan would be glad to get such a tidbit.
Yo tintin bot why dont you post about the new law in Russia that is intended to control and consor the internet?
https://www.engadget.com/2019/03/05/rus ... -firewall/
Russian 'sovereign internet' bill could give Putin his own Great Firewall

The legislation is progressing through the nation's parliament.

A bill that's progressing through Russia's legislature could grant authorities deeper control over internet access. The so-called "Sovereign Internet" bill seeks to set up a centralized hub officials can use to manage the flow of information in the nation. It also proposes a national domain name system that would enable a local intranet to continue operating if Russia is cut off from the global internet.

President Vladimir Putin is advocating for the legislation, which recently passed its first reading, as a defensive response to a cyber strategy the US adopted last year. That allows American agencies to carry out offensive measures against some nations. For instance, Cyber Command reportedly cut off internet access for a prominent Russian disinformation agency with links to the Kremlin during the midterms in November.

However, authorities may be advocating for the bill primarily to help them stifle civil unrest within Russia's borders, more than to counter foreign attacks. When protests broke out in North Caucasus in October, officials forced carriers to cut off mobile internet access in the region for nearly two weeks -- the Kremlin didn't have its own killswitch to directly block the flow of data there. Putin's approval ratings have plummeted since his landslide re-election victory a year ago, which could prove a bellwether for further public unrest.

Russia may also see centralized controls as a way to control the flow of information without enduring the kinds of knock-on effects it saw when it blocked Telegram last year. It inadvertently stifled access to other sites, including Twitch, banks and airline ticket hubs. The country already bans thousands of topics and sites, in part to clamp down on what it calls "extremism."

Other nations have similar controls in place to what the bill's proposing. Most notably, with the so-called Great Firewall, China has a firm command over the flow of information through and within its borders.

Meanwhile, despite reports to the contrary, Russia will not be running a test to isolate its intranet from the global internet for a few hours this spring. According to Bloomberg, such a test is not "technically possible."

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